Monday, 10 October 2016

Party like it's ...errr, 2006

The Purple Prince may no longer have been around to perform for staff at the 10th anniversary celebrations, but Bristol's Riverstation certainly shook to its foundations as the party reached a crescendo.
Once home to the Post of Bristol river police, it's now an upmarket waterfront bar-restaurant and a suitably prestigious venue for everyone who contributed to the company's success over the past ten years.

As MD Tony Buss put it: “My confidence that ARAG will continue to prosper, whatever the difficulties, is founded in the amazing staff we have been able to recruit. It is a testament to their loyalty, skill and commitment that those who have remained with us since they joined far outnumber those who have moved on”.

With an obligatory Champagne reception, plus pre-arranged 'impromptu' comedy performers further raising the spirits of ARAG revellers, almost the full complement of staff from around the UK partied on. And on. Another milestone in the remarkable success story that is ARAG UK.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Businesses are put off by the increased costs to recover bad debts

My team usually has a quick look at the MoJ’s quarterly civil justice statistics to gauge trends so that we can Iet you know if volumes of civil cases are on the up. An increase in the number of disputes reaching the courts could be a bellwether against which the need to promote LEI might be measured. 


The Bar council however has a different take on the latest statistics, pointing out that a 19% drop in the number of debt judgments against business in England and Wales during the first six months of 2016 is evidence of the negative impact of rising court fees. 

Fees charged to businesses for the recovery of debts through the court system were increased on 2015. The Bar council concludes that the increased fees have deterred small businesses from pursuing cases. 

Here’s a link to their article which appeared on litigation futures’ website :

Our Essential Business Legal policyholders don’t have to worry about rising court fees or the risks of being unable to recover the costs of litigation since we’ve got them covered – and when you choose ARAG for your clients there’s no excess to pay. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Family Legal Solutions

It's fairly straight forward to identify with typical consumer disputes that are covered by the contract disputes section of our Family Legal Solutions policy. 

The sort of claims examples that we often provide involve buying goods or services that prove to be unsatisfactory.  

When this happens it's always to hoped that the supplier will put things right but when that doesn't happen we can arrange mediation between the parties or pursue a claim for damages.

 I came across some case histories that are a bit different on Nearly Legal's website. Here's a link to their account of three cases that they have posted under the heading "Landlords behaving badly". 

While you may have read past blogs from me about the help we give to landlords under our Landlords' Legal Solutions policy when tenants behave badly, here the boot is clearly on the other foot.

Not all Family Legal Expenses products protect tenants but as more and more people rely on Assured Shorthold Tenancies in the private rented sector this could be a serious gap in their LEI policy cover. Make sure your home contents customers who rent their home tick in to get our Family Legal Solutions policy.  

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Not all ATE policies are created equal

After the Event policies may appear to provide identical cover but, in these turbulent times for the market, solicitors should be giving just as much scrutiny to the company behind the policy, argues Paul Hurley, Director and Head of ATE at ARAG Legal.

Perhaps the alarm bells should have been ringing before AU Insurance Services went into administration, last quarter. An uninspiring web presence and the virtual invisibility of company and employees on LinkedIn should not necessarily be cause for concern, but these have been challenging times for after the event insurance providers.

The combination of the LASPO legislation, increases in regulation and insurance premium tax and, in some segments, defendants who challenge policies and premiums as a matter of course has made things particularly difficult for smaller, niche businesses with most or all of their eggs in the ATE insurance basket.

Whatever pushed AU Insurance Services into administration, it wasn’t the first small ATE provider to fail, and it won’t be the last. But bigger firms could also be finding the current climate difficult, so it is essential for solicitors to know precisely who they are dealing with and how securely the policy that they offer to clients is securely underwritten.

As in so many markets, headline prices may grab the attention, but the true cost of a policy could be far greater, especially if a provider should fail. If a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

There are several questions that solicitors can ask to help satisfy themselves that they are minimising the risk, not just for the client but also for their own firm.
Who, for example, is underwriting the ATE policy and are they based in the UK or offshore, in sunnier, cheaper and significantly less regulated insurance markets?

Ratings agencies, such as AM Best and Standard & Poors, provide a good indication of the financial strength and security of the insurer behind the cover, so solicitors should be checking that the policies they are issuing to clients are backed by an insurer with an A (strong) or even AA (very strong) rating.

Whether the insurance provider that a solicitor deals with is an insurer, broker or some other type of intermediary, a policy that is widely used and has been thoroughly tested in the courts is likely to present fewer headaches for the firm and its clients.

It can be difficult for clients to select a law firm when they need a solicitor, but they are invariably best served by one that is experienced, financially secure and properly regulated. The same should also be true of their ATE provider.